My post this week is going to reflect my lockdown winter days, where fragments of connection and small jobs in the garden have to be slipped into pockets of free time between home schooling and gaps in the rainy gloom. No long stretches of time to get big tasks achieved or delve deeply into one writing theme, so I thought why not just accept what is and share with you the little pieces – tiny stories, small steps in projects, photos with grey skies?
While other parts of the UK have had snow, we’ve just had buckets of rain. On Saturday our pond was up the highest I’ve ever seen it, right up to the duck house door. Luckily it’s still early for nesting, so no hard work will have been disturbed. We’ve got about ten mallards around the pond at the moment – not much argy bargy yet, but that’ll be starting soon!
The duckhouse with water up to the door
The veg beds are crying out for spring – see their pools of tears! They’re yearning for plants growing in them and dry paths connecting them. Sooooon, lovely beds.
The water table is so high. This is an old well under the apple tree. In summer the water level has been 6 feet below ground at least – this weekend it was inches above ground. The whole back garden feels like it’s turning into marsh. Yesterday I saw an Instagram post someone local had put up – a field covered in water: ‘The marshland is reclaiming the land from the farms’ he said. Feels likes it here too. Is this how climate change will change this landscape?
On Sunday we spent a joyful hour doing the RSPB’s annual Big Bird Watch. After a while counting great tits, blue tits, long tailed tits and goldfinches as they bounced around the feeders we went out on the hunt for some of the others that we knew would be about somewhere – some collared doves, a noisy wren, the mallards on the pond of course. The best bit was S making friends with a robin – they spent about half an hour together, S quietly waiting with hand outstretched, Robin dotting around nearby and sometimes dashing in to grab a seed from her hand. It was a tender and thrilling experience for us both.
Doing It Myself Compost Bins
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been conquering this magnificent three-bin compost emporium, using my own bare hands, a wrench, a hammer, a screw driver. and ten pallets donated by my neighbour at the farm. There was also a good bit of cursing and grunting in the mix as well there. They’re not finished yet, but once I have completely triumphed and they’re all ready to go I’ll write a fuller post on the making of them – maybe inspire fellow beginner composters and don’t have a clue DIYers to try it out.
Welcoming new trees
I was delighted a couple of weeks ago when a local friend emailed me, saying she’d read in this blog about all the tree planting we were doing and asked if we could find homes for some trees that she had grown up in pots and now needed space in the ground to spread their roots. It feels like a real honour to be asked, and trusted with her nurslings, and it’s satisfying to know that the blog is beginning to fulfill one of its purposes – to be a magnet to draw our friends and community to share what we have and are doing here.
My friend has two apples and an ash that’s she’s bringing, plus some baby quince trees and a sycamore. We’ve been scuppered by the rain so far, but hopefully soon she’ll come round and we’ll plan where to put them and settle them into new homes. Perhaps that’ll be an upcoming post topic.
Two holes dug for the apples but now full to the brim with water so we’ll wait a while to plant them.
Bulbs bringing hope
Everywhere spring bulbs are appearing – large gatherings of daffodils that have been here for years before our arrival, plus many new bulbs that Gail planted last year. So exciting to see green shoots popping up everywhere – grape hyacinths, crocuses, cyclamen, and these darling snow drops. It’s all so hopeful – spring is coming! Just a few more weeks. Deeep breath and ahhhhhhh.